Eric and I got a really good spot on the course just after the final turn and about 120 meters from the start/finish. The course was a figure 8 with no real elevation to speak of. The wind was really non existent as well. I got a good warm up in really just getting my legs moving as the temp didn't require you to get the body really warm. I started to pull up to the start finish and wanted to take one lap around the course to see what it was all about and put on my gloves. When I cam back around everyone had already lined up.......CRAP! I hate starting at the back, and when there are 100 guys, and those guys are fast, and the course is small and tight, things can suck. So I just prepared myself for three to four laps of just hammering and making up ground. It turned out moving up was not a problem, I think a lot of guys were scared so there was a lot of room between riders to move around and up. I used the turns to make up a lot of ground and hold up my speed. I also quickly learned where I would be able to move later in the race. By the 4th lap I was up in the top 10 and just worked to hold in that area. There were a couple of times that I allowed myself to get swallowed in swarms and I tried a few other things to keep that from happening. They worked really well and for the rest of the race I had no problem staying where I wanted to be.
There were a few hard crashes in the race, only one was in a corner and it was only because the rider was turning at too high a speed and I would guess too high a tire pressure. I sort of have been railing on this for a while now to anyone that will listen but people just don't seem to get it. High tire pressure will not make you go faster, and you will have a harder time in the corners. If you are laying on the ground, you are not moving at all. But over and over guys are telling me they are running 110-120 psi in their tires. Not only is this dangerous to that rider but the other riders that he, or she, is going to take out when they slide out in a turn. It is really just the idea that more is better, well it's not! There are actually article out there where Pro Tour mechanics will say what they are putting in their riders tires, none are over 100 psi, and for a lot of races they are much, much lower. The really funny thing is hearing ex mountain bikers who will ride with super high psi, these guys know all about pressure but whatever.
Okay so the biggest crash of the night took out the back half of the field, it was crazy coming around to the pit to see all these guys waiting to go. The last crash was on the last lap with 3 turns to go. A guy took a flyer and washed out in the turn. As always the guys behind him grabbed a bunch of break, instead of just continuing their turns, and washed out with him. That meant I and a few others had to wind our way through and jump back on the gas. I was sitting 4th wheel chasing the 3rd place rider, with him about 10-15 feet in front of me. First place had about 20+ feet in front of the 2nd and 3rd place riders. My power meter showed I had 2 jumps over 1000 watts in the last two straightaways before the start finish, this is too much for me to have a sprint left and I lost 2 spots in that last 200 meters. It was still a good finish but I wasn't too happy about losing those places. Just one more thing to learn from, and I have to be happy I did not get in any of those crashes.
Speaking of crashes, there were a ton of them in all the races last night. My teammate Eric had a pretty bad one where I thought he had broken his collar bone. Luckily the x-rays were negative, we just had to spend a bunch of time in the ER. He is going to be super sore, but at least he will be back racing sooner than later.
We are racing again in a few hours on an L shaped course. I am sure it will be very similar to last night, so I will be trying my best to be at the front. I will let you know how it goes.
|These are just the top 33 riders, there were a few more pages.|
|Saturday's course, Bradley Village Crit|
|Cool photo of Murphy coming through, he is number 299|
|Eric's helmet. He still had a pretty big bump on his head, but imagine if he didn't have this thing on.|